Created: Friday, 22 April 2016 12:00

Two weeks ago, we said that one of the ways we learn is by speaking with our representatives. We were able to catch up with one of our reps, Robert Sorbet, of Stafford Electrical Sales, to ask him a few questions.

Robert has been in the industry for many years and has seen many changes take place. He travels all over Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma to talk to his clients, so we were really lucky catch him at the right time.

STS: Hi Robert! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. Can you tell us a little bit about Stafford Electrical Sales?
Robert: Sure. Stafford Electrical Sales (SES) was established in 2011. We have a strong focus on engineering as well as contractors and end users. We specialize in industrial applications.

STS: What has been the biggest change you’ve seen take place in the industry?
Robert: The biggest change that we have seen has been the consolidation in the industry of manufacturers, distributors, reps, and/or end users. An interesting phenomenon occurs though, when all of the small companies are swallowed up by the big companies. After a while, this turns into an opportunity for a niche player to start out in the industry. This happens when someone sees something the bigger companies have started to neglect in terms of service or product.

STS: What’s new for 2016?
Robert: Here in our part of the country, it is the new reality of $30 a barrel of oil. After a decade of oil at $70 to $100 a barrel, we are experience a lot of big changes. The sectors that were going non-stop 2 years ago are now dead. However, other sectors (ie. medical), are starting to come back to life. When the oil fields were booming, the demand for labor and materials drove up costs and for a while, you couldn’t get enough electricians and delivery for services was delayed. Industries that did not rely on the oil fields put their projects on hold due to the cost.

Now with the oil fields at a standstill, medical, education, and other industries are starting to put some projects back into gear. Some areas like West Texas and South Louisiana will take a while to recover. We are hoping that the rest of the area will start to come back to life soon.

STS: What’s your best piece of advice for engineers who are just starting out?
Robert: Use your local reps as a resource. Most come with a lot of history in the industry. We have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. We can help you avoid problems and introduce new products and techniques for a better installation.

STS: Thanks for your time, Robert. We really appreciate it.
Robert: It has been my pleasure and I look forward to a great show in Dallas. Thanks!

We will be in Dallas with Robert at the IEEE trade show in Dallas from May 2-5, 2016. If you’re thinking of dropping by, please visit us at Booth #5030! If you’re planning to go, but haven’t bought your tickets yet, please feel free to use our promo code 11657 when you register online to purchase a one-day exhibition-hall-only ticket.

Next week, we will be doing something a little bit different. We will be posting a 3 part series on “How to: Network at a Trade Show” on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, instead of our usual Friday post. We hope you’ll enjoy the articles!